Park near future Atlanta Public Safety Training Center shut down due to booby traps
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - The park adjacent to the future site of the controversial Atlanta Public Safety Training Center has been shut down.
DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond issued an executive order that makes it illegal to enter Intrenchment Creek Park.
Thurmond says officers have found booby traps inside the park.
The county has released photos showing wooden boards with spikes in them and other devices. The CEO says these devices are possible life-threatening hazards that could endanger the public.
DeKalb County released photos showing some of the booby-traps found at Intrenchment Creek Park during a press conference on March 24, 2023. (FOX 5)
Thurmond says those traps could still be there.
"We know that there are dangers that have been discovered in this area and we are afraid that there might be other hidden traps that will not only injure and maim, but can literally become deadly for small children and pets and others," said Thurmond during a press conference Friday afternoon.
Some activists have been camped out at the site for months.
Earlier this month, Atlanta Police say masked protesters hurled rocks and makeshift explosives at officers. Police arrested 23 people and were charged with domestic terrorism.
VIDEO SHOWS 'VIOLENT AGITATORS' AT ATLANTA PUBLIC SAFETY TRAINING CENTER
Under the executive order, anyone caught in the park or surrounding area will be subject to prosecution.
Mayor names community task force for Atlanta Public Safety Training Center
Mayor Andre Dickens unveiled the list of experts and community stakeholders named to serve on the task force focused on the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center.
The task force will lead discussions and receive input from the public on the development of the training center as well as the surrounding green space.
Some of the notable members include Georgia NAACP President Gerald Griggs, radio personality Rashad Richey and Christopher Bruce with the ACLU of Georgia.
What is the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center?
In addition to classrooms and administration buildings, the proposed $90-million police and firefighter training center would include a shooting range, a driving course to practice chases, and a "burn building" for firefighters to work on putting out fires. A "mock village" featuring a fake home, convenience store, and nightclub would also be built for authorities to rehearse raids.
The 85-acre property is owned by the city of Atlanta but is located just outside the city limits in unincorporated DeKalb County, and includes a former state prison farm.
Police officials say the state-of-the-art campus would replace substandard offerings and boost police morale beset by hiring and retention struggles in the wake of violent protests against racial injustice after George Floyd’s death in 2020.
Opponents of the training center have been protesting since 2021 by building platforms in surrounding trees and camping out at the site. They say that the project, which would be built by the Atlanta Police Foundation, involves cutting down so many trees that it would be environmentally damaging. Many activists also oppose spending so much money on a police facility that would be surrounded by poor, majority-Black neighborhoods in a city with one of the nation’s highest degrees of wealth inequality.
FOX 5 put together a full timeline of the progression of protests over the past two years, including the trooper-involved shooting death of 26-year-old protestor Manuel Esteban Paez.